pinch me: art, pride & love in the city

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in addition to having some time with the boys this weekend, i had lots of opportunity to enjoy my neighborhood, which hosted two major festivals: saturday’s art on lark (sleepy vendor pictured above) and sunday’s pridefest and parade (photos posted on facebook).

it’s proving to be the kind of place i dreamed about living when i was a kid. granted, it’s a smaller scale than i imagined, but right now that suits me just fine. it’s got art galleries, ice cream, restaurants (bars), an incredible mix of people walking around at all hours, bicycles, buses, dogs, brick, brownstones, trees, flowers, a lake (or a lake-ish type thing with a cute bridge) and a tattoo parlor.

it’s home to a B.I.D. It’s home to a movement (occupy albany). it’s home to coffee shops, a library, a wine store and a sushi bar. we parallel park. we drink on our stoops. we bump into friends on the street and say hello to neighbors. even though there are five pizzerias in walking distance, we get delivery.

my kids draw in chalk on the sidewalks, have sword fights in the park and shout out greetings to the business owners they recognize and who recognize them. the museum is nearby, as well as the state capitol and in winter an outdoor skating rink.

i am in love with my apartment, which i call my happy place. and i am in love with the little pocket of downtown albany it crouches inside of.

* * *

my friend posts on her facebook wall, a haiku about the sounds of her neighbors’ lovemaking. the crux of it is in these two words she chooses carefully: “momentary moans.” and so i wrote a poem today, a response haiku, a wish for the couple she calls “frisky:”

dude, may your girlfriend
never learn that some men last
well into the night

* * *

even though it is my place, boyfriend gets up and makes the coffee. then we lie in bed a while: him with a book, me with my laptop. or, if it’s a workday, he leaves early, kisses me without disturbing my last half hour of sleep and lets himself out.

we go most of the week without seeing one another. my time with my kids and his time with his are separate from one another, as they should be at this stage. on one hand it makes it tricky to have love in your life after a marriage dissolves. on the other hand, it forces a kind of balance we’re not capable of in our younger years.

remember getting all caught up in somebody? it can feel amazing, of course. but maybe dating and relationships in our late thirties and forties (oh, here we go, yes here they come) is a chance to be with someone without the threat of consumption, to ease into a lover’s arms, as well as back out of them, to walk your streets alone in june and make up the poems that tell about both the together times and the apart ones.


  1. There really is a good universe next door — like the Shaker hymn, you’ve “come down in a place where you ought to be.” xo

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